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While performing at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City, the iconic musician made a symbolic gesture in support of kneeling players.
"Tonight, I'm taking a knee for America. But not just one knee, I'm taking both knees," Wonder, 67, said onstage Saturday. "Both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, our leaders of the world and our globe."
His comments came the day after Trump sparked controversy by declaring at a rally in Alabama that NFL team owners should fire players who kneel in protest to highlight social issues. The president continued his criticism on Twitter on Saturday.
If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
...our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
By Sunday, Trump turned his attention to football fans, saying that if fans were to stay away from games "until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!"
Other celebrities have spoken out over the weekend about Trump's comments, including author J.K. Rowling, "Grey's Anatomy" star Jesse Williams, "Modern Family" actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Oscar winner and singer John Legend.
'Privilege.' Some people don't get given millions by Daddy, Donnie. They actually earn it. https://t.co/rmKataLLQX— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 23, 2017
I don't watch a lot of football so I just took a knee at Mother! #TakeAKnee— billy eichner (@billyeichner) September 24, 2017
I am taking a knee on Sunday. I might need someone to help me up. #TakeAKnee— Ed Asner (@TheOnlyEdAsner) September 23, 2017
We have to show him that we can bring a multiracial coalition together for justice and equality for all. Let's unite around that.— John Legend (@johnlegend) September 23, 2017
It has nothing to do with football or business. Ya’ll are our stars, you represent us. Ya’ll are our strong heros..show that strength please— Sean Diddy Combs (@diddy) September 23, 2017
He's not declaring war on NFL and NBA. Owners are his donors. He's declaring way against black people with opinions. https://t.co/lnEIKs1e9I— Ava DuVernay (@ava) September 23, 2017
Rico Lavelle, who performed the National Anthem Sunday at the the Detroit Lions game against the Atlanta Falcons game in Detroit, concluded his performance by taking a knee and raising his fist. During the anthem, members of both teams locked arms in solidarity.